Eni: agente speciale della decolonizzazione, in “Meridiana”, vol. 83, 2015, pp. 195-214.

Summary [Eni: Special Agent of Decolonization]

1362673b863e05851ca7c16e58254f47_w240_h_mw_mh_cs_cx_cyThe Italian oil corporation Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (Eni) took its first steps on the international oil market of the fifties, at a time when this was ruled by the oil cartel known as the “Seven Sisters”. Leaded by Enrico Mattei, Eni accomplished the search for oil in distant lands, as the major companies were accustomed to do, but without the support of a former imperial state, like France and Great Britain, or a superpower like the United States. Mattei tried to play overseas using a kind of anti-imperialist manner, providing technological know-how to formerly colonized countries, also giving them political-cultural support when these countries were attempting to combine new national identities with the economic development. As for the domestic political life, Eni found support to its foreign strategy just for a brief moment in the late fifties within the Christian Democratic party (Democrazia cristiana), in that political sector known as neoatlantismo, which was headed by Amintore Fanfani. In this essay I try to trace the lines of this political convergence between Eni and the Italian government aimed at building a “Mediterranean” political role for Italy. A role that still today should represent one of the most urgent issues in the Italian political agenda.

Sicily: A Geopolitical Oil Rig in the Mediterranean Sea, in Claudia Karagoz and Giovanna Summerfield (Edited by) Sicily and the Mediterranean. Migration, Exchange, Reinvention, Palgrave MacMillan, New York 2015.

coverIn postwar Italy, Sicily again took center stage in the international geopolitical arena as the oil corporations sought new fields to exploit and new sites to build their refineries, following the Iranian crisis and the closing of the Abadan refinery in May 1951. Pinella Di Gregorio discusses the process through which Sicily became a crucial crossroads in the global trade of hydrocarbons in the 1950s. This development engendered new and strong ties between the island and North African and Arab countries, placing Sicily at the center of the “Greater Mediterranean” geopolitical region, which stretches from the Iranian shores to the Strait of Gibraltar.

Zang  Tumb Tumb. Parole in libertà per una nuova estetica della nazione, in Giuseppe Barone (a cura di) Catania e la grande guerra. Storia, protagonisti, rappresentazioni, Bonanno Editore, Acireale 2014.71UDOxGm2BL

Pinella Di Gregorio mette a fuoco i lineamenti politico-culturali del movimento futurista siciliano nel periodo pre-bellico, per poi interrogarsi sul significato della copiosa apparizione a Catania, tra guerra e dopoguerra, di riviste, fogli e periodici che si richiamano all’avanguardismo. Alla luce del forte legame esistente tra il contesto locale e quello nazionale, il saggio rilegge così la storia del futurismo sull’isola: dalle grandi attese progressiste del periodo giolittiano allo scoppio del conflitto, dalla scena interventista all’opera di fiancheggiamento verso i movimenti sovversivi post-bellici.

Per una repubblica «digitale» della cultura, in “Meridiana”, vol. 68, 2010, pp. 201-208.

Meridiana, vol. 68, 2010.

Meridiana, vol. 68, 2010.

Summary [For a Digital Republic of Learning]

The article discusses the opportunities which the  web 2.0 is offering to the scientific community. Taking the idea by the Robert Darnton’s “The Case for Books”, Di Gregorio calls into question whether the internet’s contribution to a new era of information will be instability and volatility or, rather, new prospects for a more diffuse learning. Beyond the more common case, that is if the book will ever be replaced by its digital equivalent, the key question concerns more specifically the Google’s digitization project of the libraries, therefore the real risk of a digital monopoly on the “Republic of Learning”.

Una storiografia oltre l’orientalismo, in “Storica”, vol. 48, 2010, pp. 9-55.

Storica, vol. 48, 2010.

Storica, vol. 48, 2010.

Summary [Historiography beyond Orientalism]

Public “discourse” has played a central role in historical debate on the contemporary Middle East. It is also inserted on a long-term intellectual paradigm, namely “Orientalism”, as described by Edward Said. Within this context, it was thanks to George Antonius’ The Arab Awakening, published in 1938, that, for the first time, not only the standards of an Arab “political question” but also the terms for a new historiographical insight could be posed. However, the article’s main issue is not focused on Antonius’s thesis. Rather it aims at re-thinking Middle East historiography outlining the influence that Antonius and his book have had on the intellectual background of the two most important scholars in history of the contemporary Middle East: Albert Hourani and Elie Kedourie. Whether opposing its arguments (Kedourie) or following its wake (Hourani), for both scholars the importance of The Arab Awakening went far beyond the merits or demerits of the text.  Hourani and Kedourie represent a fundamental starting point in historiography: well before any post-colonial analysis, they both took a distance from an “orientalist” form of representation, prevailing at the time of their writing, laying the foundations for a new area of studies.

«Il più grande impero che il mondo abbia mai conosciuto». Alle origini del revisionismo sull’imperialismo britannico, in “Storica”, vol. 41-42, 2008, pp. 89-122.

Storica, 41-42, cover.

Storica, 41-42, cover.

[Summary] The historiography on the British Empire has seen many attempts of updating and revision. Starting from the 1980s, a strong “anti-imperialist” sensibility and then the development of the so-called “postcolonial studies”, has prompted a radical change in perspective towards the empire. However, this article sustains that the crisis of the “orthodox” imperial history may be backdated already within the traditional picture of the “classic” problems of imperialism: informal/ formal imperialism, colonialism/exploitation. A fundamental moment of this first revisionism was an article published in 1953 by Ronald Robinson and John Gallagher, containing the idea of British imperialism as the effect of economic drives and geopolitical choices originating from the “centre” and the metropolis, but also spurred on by peripheral societies. Alongside this contribution, and the later one by David K. Fieldhouse, supporter of the so-called “peripheral interpretation” of imperialism, this article sets the most recent and weighty research by of P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, who have devised an interesting interpretative model (Gentlemanly Capitalism) based on the role of financial capitalism in English imperial expansion. Today, attenuating in part the historiographic tempest of the linguistic turn, a historiographic reflection founded on a neo-economic interpretation of imperialism may prove more tenable. Developing independently from the culturalist orientation (in the case of Robinson and Gallagher), or indeed in open controversy with it (in the case of Cain and Hopkins), this has produced fundamental studies in the debate on the British Empire.

La nascita del petrolchimico siracusano e la collocazione internazionale dell’Italia, in M. Doria, R., Petri (a cura di), Banche, multinazionali e capitale umano. Studi in onore di Peter Hertner, pp. 95-109, Franco Angeli, Milano 2007.

Petrolio: diplomazia, mercati e mercanti tra Otto e Novecento, in“Contemporanea. Rivista di Storia dell’800 e del ‘900”, A. VI, n. 1 gennaio 2003.

I «Campi Elisi» del potere. Le Camere alte e i Senati in Europa nel XIX secolo, «Meridiana» n. 30, a. 1997, pp. 73-106.

La Società Generale Elettrica della Sicilia nel secondo dopoguerra, in V. Castronovo (a cura di), Storia dell’industria elettrica in Italia. Dal dopoguerra alla nazionalizzazione 1945-1962, vol. IV, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 1994, pp. 689-711.

Territorio e risorse in età giolittiana, in P. Bevilacqua e G. Corona (a cura di),  Ambiente e risorse nel Mezzogiorno contemporaneo, Donzelli Editore, Roma, 2000.

Nobiltà e nobilitazione in Sicilia nel lungo Ottocento, «Meridiana», n. 19, a. 1994, pp. 83-112.

Banchieri e manager nel polo elettrico meridionale, «Meridiana»,, nn. 11-12, a. 1991, pp. 47-70.

Crisi e ristrutturazione dell’industria elettrica in Sicilia (1930-1935): l’intervento del capitale americano, «Studi Storici», ottobre-dicembre 1987, n. 4, pp. 985-1004; J-stor.